(AP) -- A big piece of space junk safely sped by the international space station and shuttle Discovery, missing by less than a mile.
The astronauts were still asleep Friday when the old rocket part, measuring 15 feet around, passed by. NASA had been monitoring the situation and decided that it was unlikely to be a problem, so controllers did not move the station-shuttle complex.
Astronauts went ahead with a spacewalk Thursday night to install a new fully loaded tank of space station coolant.
The near-miss was at 11:07 a.m. EDT. NASA officials said the closest it was to the astronauts was about 4,200 feet - about 14 football fields.
On the Net:
©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Explore further: Total lunar eclipse before dawn on April 4th